By Avantika Chilkoti
Global markets were mixed Wednesday as investors await the latest policy decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve for fresh cues on the strength of the world's largest economy.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average drifted between gains and losses before edging down to 0.1%, while the Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 0.2%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.2%.
Markets are braced for a busy few days as the U.S. and European central banks hold policy meetings that will provide fresh assessments of key economic indicators, as well as a general election in the U.K. that could prove to be a turning point for Brexit. Investors are also continuing to parse headlines for indications on the progress of the U.S.-China trade talks, after the The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that negotiators from both sides are preparing to delay fresh U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports due to go into effect on Dec. 15.
All eyes are on the U.S. Federal Reserve as it concludes a two-day meeting, where policy makers are widely expected to hold the federal funds rate unchanged. Analysts point out that there is little reason for the Fed to change course now, given the continuation of U.S.-China trade talks, as well as strong data on both consumption and the labor market since the committee's last meeting.
The U.K.'s FTSE 250 equity index slipped 0.6% ahead of a general election scheduled to be held tomorrow that will help determine the course of the U.K.'s withdrawal from the European Union.
Some opinion polls show Prime Minister Boris Johnson's lead narrowing in the general election scheduled to be held tomorrow. A new, closely watched YouGov poll couldn't rule out a hung Parliament. It showed that Mr. Johnson's Conservative Party is set to win a majority of 28 seats, down from a 68-seat majority forecast in a previous survey last month. The pound edged down 0.1% against the dollar, after hitting its highest level in eight months earlier this week.
State-backed oil major Saudi Arabian Oil Co., which is among the most closely watched stocks on Wednesday, gained 10% on its first day of trading in Riyadh after the world's largest initial public offering.
Later in the day, investors will be watching closely as the U.S. Labor Department offers a look at the latest consumer-price index data, which measures changes in how much Americans are paying for everyday items ranging from food to dental care. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the index rose 0.2% in November from the previous month.
Write to Avantika Chilkoti at Avantika.Chilkoti@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 11, 2019 05:31 ET (10:31 GMT)
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